Tools for Teaching

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The Pedagogical Law in a Time of Screens:
A Free Video Presentation by Eugene Schwartz

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought about momentous changes in Waldorf schools, not the least of which was the sudden acceptance of distance learning and the substitution of computers and devices for the classroom experience. Having opposed children’s exposure to screens for decades, Waldorf practitioners were poorly prepared – technically, pedagogically, and emotionally – for this sudden transformation. The Online Hotline, launched by Eugene Schwartz in March of 2020, was the first in what would be many efforts to provide support in navigating this new and not always hospitable terrain.

Although an increasing number of Waldorf schools have opened their classrooms, the sight of masked students seated six feet apart is hardly a “return to normal.” And it is likely that there will be least a few more interludes in which screens will be the only means Waldorf teachers will have to reach their students. Waldorf teacher training centers, recognizing the financial benefits afforded by online trainings and conferences, will probably continue to employ the screens that they once scorned.

The teacher support given thus far has been, of necessity, primarily technical in nature. There have been also been efforts to help teachers deal with the physical and psychological challenges of staring at Zoom and Google Classroom screens all day and having little direct contact with students, colleagues, and class parents.

It is with this in mind that Eugene Schwartz is offering a slide presentation (not a Zoom meeting!) which aims to recognize the spiritual dimensions of distance learning and teaching via screens. He poses the question, “Does the pandemic actually provide Waldorf practitioners with an opportunity to advance – not diminish – their spiritual development?” We postulate that a new understanding of Rudolf Steiner’s Pedagogical Law is needed to meet the challenges of distance learning and online teaching. Even if you are familiar with the Pedagogical Law, Eugene’s perspective will prove to be stimulating and helpful.

The slideshow – a set of six “dynamic diagrams” with commentary – is available as a half-hour long video. Its title is What Can We Learn When We Teach Online? This video is free of charge from March 1 through May 1. Register below and you will receive your passcode to view the video as often as you wish.